Interview with T-shirt design winner Elise Kane

elise kane at handprints opening

Woodland Hills resident Elise Kane is the artist behind “Octopus,” one of the two winning designs that we printed at our silkscreening workshop last month. We followed up with her with a few questions about her experience.

Where did you first learn the art of printmaking, and intaglio specifically?

I learned intaglio and screenprinting while still a student at UC Davis. My intaglio instructor was Stella Ebner and my screenprinting instructor was Malaquias Montoya, who is known for his art activism in and on behalf of the Chicano community.

What was the octopus print originally created for?

We had been given an assignment in Stella Ebner’s class to create a series that demonstrated the development of a drawing on the metal intaglio plate. In other words, everyone created prints for each of six or seven stages of their etchings. When laid side by side in chronological order, your prints told the story of how that drawing came to fruition.

How did it feel first seeing 100+ votes for your design on the website and then seeing people print it on shirts?

To be honest, in my mind, I think those votes were a fluke. However, in the end, I hope people enjoyed the design.

Have you been wearing your octopus shirt every day?

I didn’t make a shirt for myself because I wanted to use ink colors that weren’t available at the demo. I printed shirts for my parents at the demo, though. My dad has one in blue on a white background to evoke the Dodgers, which is his favorite baseball team. My mom has one in green.

Now that you have the octopus silkscreen as a prize, are you going to print more?

Yes! I’ll be buying inks to print the shirts I didn’t get a chance to make for myself, then one for my brother. Maybe I’ll get around to making some greeting cards too. Thank you to coLAb for the unexpected prize! I’m grateful to have been able to share some work alongside some very talented people. It was a neat show.

More of Elise’s artwork and design can be seen on her Coroflot page.

A conversation with the L.A. HandPrints creators

The LA HandPrints Team and our Fearless Leader: Kat Bouza, Cara Rifkin, Sasha Anawalt, Harry Vaughn, Erin Leiker, Elisa Hough

1) What was the experience of seeing the prints online first, and then live in the Home Room Gallery? 

Kat: To put it simply, it was wonderful! So many of the submitted pieces I was drawn to online were engaging and beautiful (not to mention larger!) once I saw them installed in the gallery.

Elisa: I had been communicating with the artists for weeks via email, and to finally meet them in person and have their works in my hands was gratifying, a successful digital/physical transaction from online to real life. I was a bit nervous about the wide array of art we were going to display (variety of media, dimensions, expertise, some framed, most unframed), but when they finally went up on the walls the show became cohesive in my eyes.

Erin: There’s a sense of awe that comes with seeing something in person that you’ve come to know via digital means first. These prints had a sort of celebrity to them: I was seeing the physical form of the artwork I was so familiar with from the website!

Cara: After having seen digital copies of the L.A. HandPrints art, I was ecstatic to see the prints in the flesh.  They were so vibrant, so detailed, and so BIG!

Harry: It was pretty surreal and satisfying to see that, yes, these lovely prints submitted online have made their way into a real-world gallery. Say all the nice things you want about the internet, but there is nothing more tangible then admiring prints in person. Of course, none of this could have happened without the online factor, which is probably the coolest part about our whole endeavor.

2) What was your favorite part of the L.A. HandPrints events? 

Kat: The fact we, as graduate students with little to no connections to the Los Angeles visual arts community, were able to generate interest and buzz for our events was great enough for me. I was so thrilled to see such a diverse group of attendees at both the opening and the screenprinting workshop.

Elisa: I had a moment while Bad Braids was playing at the opening reception, seeing a group of attentive listeners watching the band and a group of meandering spectators viewing the artwork, when I realized: Wow, this really all came together! People seemed to be having fun, the band sounded great, the cupcakes were ridiculous. I was pretty proud of myself and my team and everyone who participated.

Erin: Watching visitors lift the screens and get excited about their new, hand-screened shirt was a blast. Each and every time those screens went up, someone shouted “oh, awesome!”

Cara: I loved watching Elise and Obi, our T-shirt design contest winners, as their prints became t-shirts at our workshop.  The fact that people are now wearing their designs around Los Angeles is so rewarding.

Harry: My favorite aspect was watching my teammates tackle the process of printing (some of us for the first time!) with other guests who similarly hadn’t a clue as to how it’s done. The event was a learning experience for all of us, just like this website, so I think it reflected nicely on what our goals have been throughout this process.

3) What did you learn from L.A. HandPrints? 

Kat: If you plan it, they will come!

Elisa: While I’ve hosted dozens of live music events, this was the most I’ve been involved in hosting an art show, so I learned some of the technical and aesthetic details that go into arranging and hanging artwork. I also have a greater understanding about how the boundaries between artist and audience, creator and spectator can – and should – be blurred.

Erin: The leap from digital to physical carries a lot more weight and meaning than I was expecting. There were interactions and outcomes that I hadn’t expected, and some that I did expect came about in a totally different way. You can think you know how something will work, but the old fashioned method of experimenting is still the only way to truly know.

Cara: I learned that Los Angeles has a rich history in printmaking, and that L.A. HandPrints has the potential to carry on the tradition of this lively community.

Harry: I learned that people want to connect way more than I anticipated. There were never any scoffing or eye-rolling from artists when we presented them with our idea to showcase their work. The opposite actually, everyone seemed incredibly game and enthusiastic. I’ve learned that putting your ideas online can really give you excellent results.

What are your answers to these questions? Join the conversation and leave a comment.

HandPrints screenprinting workshop video and demo

Selected by 250 + people on our site, “Octopus” by Elise Kane and “downtown from los angeles street” by Obi-Ike Nwoke became the central designs for dozens of shirts made at our L.A. HandPrints screenprinting workshop on April 11.

Like what you see? Submit your designs and maybe we’ll have another contest in the future!

screenprinting workshop

HandPrints opening party video with Bad Braids and YOU

Bad Braids at LA Handprints opening

For those of you who came to our opening party: thank you again and enjoy the video!  See if you can spot yourselves in it.

For those of you who didn’t: we missed you, but hope you will check out the video below to see what took place.

(Video edited by Cara Rifkin.)


Photos from HandPrints Opening Party

On Saturday, April 7, we kicked off our exhibition at Home Room Gallery.  We celebrated the opening of L.A. HandPrints with live music, snacks and drinks, and, of course, artwork from L.A.’s up-and-coming printmakers.  Check out our photos below.

Entrance to Home Room Gallery.


Admiring art featured in L.A. HandPrints.


Taking a look at handmade comic books.


Quite a crowd!


Art and love.


A small sample of the many prints collected for L.A. HandPrints.


Checking out the voting station.


Party-goers voted on their favorite print for our t-shirt design competition.


A printmaking enthusiast taking in the work.


Drinks, friends, and good times.


Photos by Kat Bouza and Emily Rifkin.

HandPrints artists roster, blogs and portfolios

crowd at L.A. HandPrints openingI want to be sure to give credit to all the artists who are currently showing in the L.A. HandPrints show at Home Room, especially since not all are showing in our online gallery.

So, go to the real-life gallery to see:

Please check out their websites and blogs, and tell them you saw their work in the show. Let’s stay connected, yeah?

T-shirt design winners!

We tallied up the votes from the website and the opening reception, and the winners are…

Octopus by Elise Kane  downtown from los angeles street by Obi-Ike Nwoke
“Octopus” by Elise Kane                                                                                   “downtown from los angeles street” by Obi-Ike Nwoke

Congratulations to the artists and thank you to everyone who voted!

Today I dropped the images off at Screen Depot on Main Street to be burned onto silkscreens. By Wednesday they’ll be ready to print onto your T-shirts at our screenprinting workshop! The images are black here, but we’ll have a handful of colors to mix and match with. Bring your own shirt if you can, or we’ll have a pile of gems hand-picked from Out of the Closet.

Forecast says rain, but it will be nice and cozy at Home Room. Live music will be provided by DANK WILLIAMS and our own classmate, MS. CULPRIT.

Artists at HandPrints opening

Thank you to all the artists who contributed for our gallery show at Home Room! The opening reception was a blast. I especially enjoyed finally meeting some of the artists after weeks of email exchanges, introducing them to each other and introducing an audience to their work.

It was a pretty hectic night, so I didn’t get pictures of all the artists present with their pieces, but here are a few!

Obi-Ike Nwoke at Home Room     Joel Urias at Home Room

Obi-Ike Nwoke | “downtown from los angeles street” + Joel Urias | “Googleplexes and Super Highways,” “Clover Leaf,” “Amoebas”

 Elvira Clemente at Home Room     Daniel Rolnik at Home Room

Elvira Clemente | “Overwelming” + Daniel Rolnik | “Hi I’m Daniel”

Lou Morton at Home Room     Allison Peck at Home Room

Louis Morton | “Umbrella Party” + Allison Peck | “Remnants”

Voting on shirt designs is NOW OPEN!

Please note: Voting has closed. Click here to see the winners of our competition!

Thank you to all of the wonderful artists who submitted work to our online gallery. Below are designs that were submitted for consideration to be the featured designs during our live screenprinting workshop at Home Room on April 11.

Please vote for the two images you would most like to sport on a super cool tee! The two designs with the most votes by April 8 will be burned onto silkscreens so we (that’s us and you!) can print them onto T-shirts to take home with you! The two winners will be announced on April 8.

Then join us on April 11 at Home Room to print your own shirt with one of the winning designs! Some shirts will be available, but we encourage you to bring your own. Not only will you be supporting an up-and-coming L.A. artist, but you’ll look good doing it!

Click an image to see it in full, then click “vote on this image” to declare your favorites! Your vote will show once you reload the page.